Play at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls Causes Controversy After Student Actors Appear in KKK Robes
The Sioux Falls School District is apologizing after students appeared in a play wearing Klu Klux Klan clothing.
"The Foreigner" is an award-winning two-act play written by playwright Larry Shue that centers around two guests, one an Englishman pretending he can't speak English, at a fishing lodge in Georgia and the characters they meet there. Among them is a character who wishes to convert the lodge to a KKK meeting place.
According to the Associated Press, "District administrators say the production of "The Foreigner" at Roosevelt High School last weekend was not properly vetted. A local social advocacy group Establishing Sustainable Connections raised concerns about the racist attire. In a Facebook post, the organization said in today's political climate, the imagery of KKK robes and hoods furthers the racial tension in the community."
This is not the first time the play has caused controversy. In 2018 parents in Arizona were outraged when students at a prep school appeared in the plan dressed as Klansmen.
"Three students at the Arizona State University Preparatory Academy Phoenix campus dressed in Ku Klux Klan costumes for a school play. Parents say the school never notified them or the rest of the student body that was not in the drama class," reported Sign of the Times.
In 2017, parents at New Prague High School also expressed anger at the production. The play was canceled after a picture from a dress rehearsal showing the students dressed in KKK robes circulated on social media.
"We are sending this communication to notify you that our spring play, The Foreigner, has been canceled. On Friday afternoon, a NPHS student involved in the play posted a captioned photo on social media of some fellow cast members in KKK costumes that are used in the final scene of the play to depict an evil force in the story. The administration was made aware of the posting, and the insensitive nature of this post," read a statement released by New Prague High School.
The AP went on to report that District spokeswoman DeeAnn Konrad said: "the district violated its drama approval process on whether the costumes, themes, language, and choreography are considered appropriate by community and state standards."